How Important Is Testing for Strep?

With all the current worry around influenza, RSV, and COVID, strep throat isn’t usually top of mind as a danger to your family or your business. 

Still, Strep A is responsible for millions of infections, ranging from the very common Strep throat to skin and wound infections and others. It is potentially serious and can cause significant illness. Statistics show that 1100-1600 deaths per year in the United States alone are caused by Strep A infections. More importantly, Strep throat is a risk factor for secondary illnesses, including kidney damage, heart valve damage (rheumatic fever) etc, if not recognized early enough and treated appropriately with antibiotics. 

The commonly available Strep A tests generally test for an antigen (protein), and a negative test is considered only presumptively negative until a simultaneously obtained culture returns negative 24 hours later — but the culture can certainly turn positive and prove the rapid antigen test wrong! So an antigen test is not the most efficient or accurate way to determine if you have strep. 

By contrast, our new test is PCR-based, so does not require waiting for the subsequent culture result, and therefore gives you or your child certainty much faster. Within 30 minutes you can know whether antibiotics will be needed, or if your sore throat is simply a symptom of seasonal allergies, or one of many viruses circulating this flu season. Our PCR testing for strep provides 94 to 97 percent accuracy, so if you have a sore throat and any other symptoms, you can get tested today to better determine treatment options and quarantine procedures. 

Here’s a summary of what you should know about our test: 

Here are some quick facts about the test: 

  • Lab-verified results in just 30 minutes
  • Best-in-class 94% to 97% accuracy
  • Access results online
  • Schedule testing online and come into one of our test centers in Beverly or Boston for fast testing
  • Costs just $79

If you do test positive, talk to your care provider about treatments and next steps, particularly if you are immunocompromised, have any of several risk factors or are run-down. Stay home if possible to avoid infecting others and inform anyone you may have recently come into contact with about your positive test. 

In all, accurate testing for strep throat will allow you to make an informed decision whether it’s a good idea to visit family members during the holidays or to go to work – and save a good deal of hassle. It’s easy to book a test online today; you can visit our clinics in Boston and Beverly for a 5-minute appointment, get tested, and have best-in-class certainty in under 30 minutes. 

Book a 5-min appointment today, and / or see the CDC’s analysis of various strep testing options here.